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Recipe of Bitter Gourd and Sweet Potato Dry Vegetable - Microwave Version

Umesh is a freelance writer contributing his creative writings on varied subjects in various knowledge and educational sites in internet.

recipe-of-bitter-gourd-and-sweet-potato-dry-vegetable-microwave-version

Introduction

Bitter gourd (Bitter melon) is a common vegetable found across the globe. In our country, India, it is commonly known as Karela. It is used for making a variety of vegetables - dry as well as in curry forms. The only problem or issue with bitter gourd is that it has a slightly bitter taste and that is why many people have a disliking for it in spite of knowing that it has many health benefits for us stored in it.

One way to reduce the bitterness of Bitter gourd in the dish is to use some other vegetables along with it like carrots or potatoes or sweet potatoes in a good proportion or adding sufficient onions so that the bitterness in the final dish is reduced significantly. We have chosen sweet potato and onions for the purpose of reducing bitterness and making it a delicious dry vegetable dish in this particular recipe.

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Brief about Bitter gourd

Bitter gourd (Bitter melon) is a great source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and several key nutrients. It has many health benefits and the first and foremost thing is that it is low in carbohydrates but high in fibres and is ideal for people who want to keep a tab on their weight. In many cultures and societies, the Bitter gourd is believed to be very conducive for good health and is consumed for getting many benefits like - cleaning of the blood system, providing some valuable nutrients and minerals, and being good for gut health. It is also considered good for diabetic people as it contains charantin (a hypoglycemic agent) which influences the glucose metabolism throughout one's body. So, in effect, it helps in regulating the sugar levels in the body.

One cup (about 94 grams) of raw Bitter gourd provides 2 grams of fibre, 4 grams of carbohydrate, and about 1 gram of protein. Its calorific value is only 20 calories and it also provides various vitamins and minerals. The percentage of vitamins/minerals provided by a cup of raw Bitter gourd in reference to the RDI (Reference Daily Intake) value is for Vitamin C - 93%, Vitamin A - 44%, Folate - 17%, Potassium: 8%, Zinc - 5%, and Iron - 4%.

It is also interesting to note that the above quantity of fibre is more than sufficient and is well above our daily needs of it. So it makes sense to add Bitter gourd to our diet at regular intervals.

Microwave basics

This dish can be made in a conventional way in a cooking pan by straight cooking it on a gas burner or hot plate but we have made this dish in this recipe in a microwave oven. So before going ahead it would be useful to go through some of the fundamentals of microwave cooking.

Many people use microwave ovens only for heating purposes and not for making dishes. But, once we are aware of some of the basics about its functioning and working then we can use it in a better way for making a dish perfectly.

Let us understand the basics of microwaves and their functioning. Generally, a microwave has five ranges of heat and all cooking is done using those ranges separately or in combination (in sequence). These ranges are very high, high, medium, low, and very low. Very high and high are generally used for main cooking purposes while the low is used for simmering of food and very low is used for keeping the dish warm as we do in a hot case.

In microwave cooking, the main precaution which we have to take is that we have to always take care in adding the quantity of water in the dish. A single mistake in this regard can spoil the dish as there is always a danger of getting charred and burning of the dish if sufficient water is not added beforehand.

The water quantity becomes more important especially in the case of the dry vegetables as we do not want that the final dish should contain more water than required. So, from that perspective, it is easy to make curries in the microwave because there we add more water beforehand and the question of charring or burning does not arise.

One thing which is interesting in microwave cooking is that the microwave doesn't require cooking oil for cooking the food. It can cook the food just by the presence of water in it. So health-conscious people can avoid putting cooking oil in their microwave dishes.

Many people are not comfortable with microwave cooking and feel a lot of hassles in it. They can go for the normal way of cooking in a pan on a hot plate or gas burner using their own basic culinary skills. The cooking time may increase slightly in traditional cooking as compared to microwaves.

Ingredients

The quantity of various ingredients given below will be sufficient for 3 to 4 persons while taken with other food items during main meals.

The total preparation time of this dish is about 30 minutes.

  • Bitter Gourd (medium size) - 2 to 3 Nos.
  • Sweet Potatoes (medium size) - 2 to 3 Nos.
  • Onion - 2 Nos.
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp (optional).
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
  • Anise (Fennel/Saunf) seeds - 1/2 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (optional).
  • Whole red chilly - 1 No. (optional).
  • Mango powder (Amchur) - 1 tsp.
  • Cooking oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Salt - as per taste.
  • Sugar - 1 tsp (optional).

Mango powder

Anise / Fennel seeds

Preparation

Wash the Bitter gourds and Sweet potatoes thoroughly and drain them. Slightly peel the Bitter gourds and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into small flat pieces. Peel the onions and chop them. Cut the whole chilli (optional) into 3 - 4 pieces and keep aside.

Method

Take a microwave bowl preferably a thick glass one and put chopped onions in it. Add cumin seeds, turmeric powder (optional), coriander powder, anise seeds, chilli powder (optional), whole chilli pieces (optional), cooking oil, and salt. Mix well, sprinkle 1 to 2 tsp water on it and keep the bowl in the microwave. Put the microwave in the 1st or 2nd heat range (I would prefer the 2nd range) and turn it on. Keep it for 3 - 4 minutes only. Take the bowl out and add pieces of Bitter gourd and Sweet potatoes. Now add mango powder and sugar (optional) to it. Mix well and after that add three-quarters of a cup of water to it. At this stage never forget to add this water. It is very important as already explained earlier under the microwave basics.

Keep the bowl back in the microwave and cook it for 9 to 11 minutes. During the last 3 minutes of the cooking, it is advisable to pause the microwave and check for the consistency of the dry vegetable. If it appears more dry add some little water else cook it for a minute more. Once you use a microwave for cooking you will gain these experiences and it would be helpful in future cooking sessions.

Now the dish is ready and it can be taken out for serving. One thing that we all have to remember while using the microwave is that during the cooking process the glass bowl also gets heated up and we have to take it out using a thick cloth or thick kitchen gloves. This is a basic safety precaution that must be used while working with microwaves.

The dry vegetable is ready

recipe-of-bitter-gourd-and-sweet-potato-dry-vegetable-microwave-version

Variations

  • In place of sweet potato, we can use carrots or potatoes or green banana etc.
  • Red chilli powder and whole red chilli are mentioned in ingredients as optional items and people who do not like chillies can simply avoid them and should not include them in the dish.
  • To make the dish a bit sweeter and tangy some people add a little tomato sauce to it.
  • This dry vegetable when prepared can also be used as a filling for quick sandwiches of a different type during snack time.
  • Microwaves can cook the food even in absence of the cooking oil. So health conscious people can even avoid adding cooking oil to this dish.

Serving

The dish can be served along side the main meal items. Even after adding the sweet potato in the dish, it has a little bitter taste, hence the serving size can be minimised depending on the taste and liking of the individuals.

Nutritional information

The dish prepared using these quantities of ingredients would be sufficient for 5 to 6 servings. Based on the calorific values of different ingredients, one serving of this dish would be having about 30 to 35 calories.

If sugar is not added and cooking oil is also not used then each serving would be only about 20 to 25 calories.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Umesh Chandra Bhatt

Comments

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 10, 2021:

Peggy, thanks for your valuable comment and visiting. Highly appreciate. Have a nice day.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 10, 2021:

That is a good idea to add other vegetables to the bitter gourd to cut back on the overall bitter taste. I have only eaten it a couple of times, but do know that it contains many health benefits.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 10, 2021:

Flourish, thank you very much for your visit and happy that you liked it. Have a nice time.

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 10, 2021:

Your recipe is well explained and illustrated with the photos. I've never had several of the ingredients but nearly anything is available is one tries hard enough. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 09, 2021:

Pamela, thanks a lot for your visit and the beautiful comment. Bitter gourd is definitely bitter in taste but once the person develops taste for it, one likes it. Have a nice time.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 09, 2021:

Farah, thanks for your visit. It is nice that you already know about this recipe. Have a nice weekend.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 09, 2021:

Your directions for this recipe are excellent, Umesh. I like sweet potato and onion. I do not think I have every had bitter gourd, so I can't comment on that. Thank you for the well-explained recipe.

Farah N Huq from Dhaka, Bangladesh on October 09, 2021:

One of my favourite dishes. Love having it with plain steamed rice. Here we sometimes add shrimps to add some flavour. Haven't tried the microwave version yet. Would love to try this soon. Thank you for sharing!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt (author) from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 09, 2021:

Liz, thanks for your quick comment. I feel very happy that you liked this recipe. Have a nice weekend.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 09, 2021:

This is an interesting and well-explained recipe. I have not come across bitter gourd in the UK. Thank you for enlightening me. I will have to look for it.

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